February 24, 2008

Choice of solitude and loneliness

I am not sure if I have dealt with this topic before, I have always thought about the difference between loneliness and solitude. Both mean nearly the same. Both imply a state of not being in the presence of other people. They both mean that one is alone, physically. Even though they mean almost the same, the key word almost gives them a subtle difference or so it seems.

As far as I understand the word, loneliness is when one is not in the presence of others as a compulsion. To mean, given a choice one will not choose to be alone. One would prefer to be in the company of others and therefore feel better to be a part of the group, a group, any group, as long they are not alone.

On the other hand, solitude is sought by someone. They do not want to be in the presence of others and given a choice, they would rather be by themselves.

There are some that talk about solitude in company, being that even when they are in the company of others, they are in solitude, as they do not let the others affect them. There are some on the other hand who talk about loneliness in a crowd, being that they are not able to identify with the company they are in and therefore they feel alone.

We have seen what people, according to me mean when they talk about solitude and loneliness. What I was wondering about, solitude is by choice and loneliness is something thrust upon you. However, what if one who sought after solitude was not given the chance of choosing that solitude? What if they were never invited to a party, they were left alone and not bothered about? This is likely to happen for after a couple of invites, which being turned down lead to the fact being established that this person will not come even if we invite them. Therefore, there is no point in inviting them. In this case solitude is thrust on them.

If the person seeking solitude in this case has a feeling of loneliness, then is the solitude actually that? Or is it just a show that they putting on for others? Can solitude be dependent upon the choice to be alone or not to be alone? Can it be that one can enjoy solitude only when they choose it and not when it is thrust upon them? My sense is no, for if they felt alone in absence of solitude and they needed the company to enjoy that solitude, then it is a farce, a blindfold that they have tied around themselves, a mask they are wearing to show the people around them that they are strong. However, that strength seems to desert them when they are alone, not by choice but by events. They feel lonely and alone. The mask stripped, they are but a shell of what they want to be.

Loneliness, solitude,
Is it a matter of choice?
If I choose, it is solitude,
If you do then loneliness?

8 comments:

Rajaraman said...

please go back to your article in DEc2006. you have a blog under the same title. Olease programme your blg so that you dont repreat your won .if the content is different the title can be altered suitably.

Lazy Lavender said...

You have written about solitude, your yearning for it earlier. The current post however, is different, in the sense that it talks about solitude, and loneliness, and the choice involved, whereas the previous post seemed more a justification of solitude, or for seeking it.

Either ways, I don't see why solitude has to be sought. Hoping to get away from a crowd cannot be called - seeking solitude. A wise soul once said - 'Solitude is a state. You are always in it, or out of it. You never go there'

Solitude is just solitude, and the presence/absence of company, shouldn't affect it. And it cannot be thrust upon someone. If the person prefers to be solitary, then on can't really force it on them. If the person does not prefer being alone, then forcing them to be so, will not make them solitary. They'd just be lonely. I guess that is what you are saying too.

And the farce-mask thing, I agree.

And this post is more relevant to the topic than the previous one.

Rajaraman said...

I still recall the word from william wordswoth.That flashed upon my inward Eye the bliss of solitude.
Solitude is required when you ant to think undisturbed with clarity uninfluenced and without noice and any other distraction. Many saints went to solitude to think in their own way. they were never afraid of loneliness . That was their bliss

Rajaraman said...

William wordsworth wrote in his poem Daffodils
I wnadered lonely a cloud That flashed upon my inward eye the bliss of solitude that is the full content

aditya said...

@ Dad,
The complete poem is as follows

William Wordsworth's Daffodils

I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

aditya said...

@ LL
Firstly, I thank you for taking time to make the comparison between two posts. I did not want people to do that, however, since you have done it, thanks all the same.

I am not question solitude, all I am questioning is the choice process. And that is what you have agreed in the end.

Rajaraman said...

Thank you for the poem I studied that when I was in Class 10th. The same got repeated In mY PUC lessons Then I used to hate it since I have to remember it and rewrite without any mistake , . coln etc. But today I enjoyed it full I really mean in full thanks again for your efforts in tracing the poem Hope you enjoyed it too.

Anonymous said...

If it's a choice of doing something solo or with others I'll opt for solo every time. I have no interest in other people, their lives, their mundane whinings. The most boring person in the world to me is whomever is standing before me.